Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Silence in the Cave

I was reading a book about compartmentalizing and organizing information. They mentioned that a Buddhist mantra was much harder to organize than something far more concrete and mundane. They specifically mentioned "Om". Yes, I know, not that big of a deal, but it brought back some memories. Now that I am raising kids, I find myself looking back through the years to see how I perceived things when I was younger. Some of my fondest memories are adventures with my brother and father and Nina. In one particular adventure, we were hunting down cave sites. Have you ever been way deep inside of a cave? Have you ever turned off the lights and just took a moment to breathe? It is a truly amazing experience. I did not quite appreciate it then, being only a few years old. Now, with the constant din of electronics, the background demands of work, clients, and raising children it is hard to get that quiet. Sometimes I find myself going back.

On another adventure, we went scuba diving in Hawaii. This was some of the most amazing water and fish in the world. At one point we were able to swim in the deep blue sea with a pod of whales. Try and put yourself into my shoes. Here I am, a teenager. I am swimming in the ocean miles off shore. The water is pristine and blue. There is no bottom. There is no land. I take a mask and snorkel and hop into the water. I dive down about 30 feet. Looking up, there is just enough substance to the water to get that beautiful shimmery effect like when the sun is just shooting rays down through the clouds. The surface of the water is disappointing, it looks to be only about 5 feet away. A bull whale comes over to decide if I am a threat to the pod. The pod consists of tens of pilot whales from the bull down to pups tucked into their mother's side for help swimming. I cannot tell how many whales there are. The further I look in the distance and the more my eyes adjust, the more whales I am able to see.

The bull approaches. He gets to about 20 feet from me and cruises up putting his eye on level with mine. Let me tell you, you notice when something the size of a small moving truck sidles on up to you to check to see if you are a threat to his kids. Thankfully, I was not. He then surfaced and continued to surface for a while. My impression was that he was confused about why I was only able to hold my breath for a minute or so at a time. After he surfaced, I decided to surface again. That 30 or so feet, that looked like 5, took a while to cover.

I am in the deep blue sea, floating at a near perfect temperature, with little sound, and a huge family of beautiful whales serenely gliding by. When I put myself back into that memory I can feel it all over again.

Where is your cave? Where are your whales? How often do you put yourself back there and remember them? How often do you relive the joy and wonder?

All too frequently, we spend time rehashing things that did not go right, or that we think could have gone better. We need to remember to be human and enjoy that times that make us feel good as well. Those times recharge us and inspire us to greatness.


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